Can You Buy Plane Tickets At The Airport?

Can You Buy Plane TIckets at the Airport?

Can you buy plane tickets at the airport? Yes, you can. In fact, there are quite a few people who do so every day.

With that being said, let’s discuss this topic and clear up any doubt or confusion around buying flight tickets at an airport or anywhere else.

Can You Buy Plane Tickets At The Airport?

Yes, you can buy plane tickets at the airport, if the airline you wish to fly with maintains a physical ticket office at the airport. Majority of the airline companies such as Delta, American Airlines, etc. have a physical ticket office at the airport.

In fact, this describes the current situation for the vast majority of airlines that allow buying a ticket at the airport. 

Typically, this duty falls within the purview of a handling agent who oversees the service desk and deals with any tickets that come in. 

New tickets can also be purchased at the ticket counter at the airport. Apart from this, those who have missed their flight can also buy a plane ticket at the airport. 

In fact, those individuals whose plans require them to pay additional fees, such as those associated with additional luggage or other services, can do so at the ticket counter of the specific airline.

To avoid waiting in a huge queue, you can get to the ticket office right when it opens.

When Does The Ticket Counter At The Airport Open?Airport Ticket Counter

Photo by Phil Mosley on Unsplash

A flight’s ticket counter at the airport will typically open two hours before takeoff of the flight. This is the protocol that is always followed. Unless there are no remaining flights, ticket counters usually close 45 minutes before a flight’s planned departure time.

While buying a plane ticket at the airport isn’t as prevalent as other options, it’s still possible to do so. 

But, is it cheaper to buy tickets at the airport than online? Let’s understand this in the segment below.

Things To Ensure Before Buying Tickets At The Airport

There is no way to sugarcoat that taking a car to the airport and buying tickets at the counter are not easy tasks by any imagination. 

You are responsible for comprehending all the trip terms, traveller information, rules, and other pertinent information, such as flight particulars. 

You must be sure of a few things before presenting yourself at the ticket desk. For your convenience, some of those things are stated below:

  • Make Sure You Check Your Flight Details Before You Go

In the first place, before you depart, make sure you have all the necessary materials. 

Airports, flight times, costs, and a plethora of other factors are all considered.

Make sure your checks are correct by writing everything down. 

If you are unaware of the options available, the agent will also explain the several flight options and rates to you.

  • Make Sure You Make A Note Of Each Traveller’s Information

The next step is to record each person’s name and birth year you are travelling with on a sheet of paper. 

It will save your time; the representative will make fewer mistakes when entering the data by hand.

You will be asked fewer questions if you ask them to write down the information you provide. 

  • Decide The Most Suitable Time

This may very well be the most crucial piece of advice you will ever read. It’s all about timing if you want to reserve the best flight at the airport. 

You should go when there is less foot traffic and when there are openings in the flight schedules. 

There is an unusually low volume of traffic at that time of day when people have already left for work and school. 

You should also double-check that flights are still scheduled for the day because otherwise, the counter won’t have somebody to operate it. 

Find out if the day’s flights you wish to go to have been canceled. Do not assume in vain that everything will be fine if you just get in your car and drive to the airport.

  • Park In The Right PlacePark lot at the airport

Photo by Brydon McCluskey on Unsplash

Most people, it’s safe to assume, have never had to find a parking spot for a very brief amount of time.

At most airports, the method for parking a car in the parking garage next to the terminal for an extended amount of time is the same as for short-term parking.

You still use the same entrance, but once inside, you need to turn right away from the foyer to locate the ticket booth.

The hourly rate is significantly lower than the daily rate in the short-term parking lot, which is conveniently located next to the elevators.

Therefore, if you wish to save money and cut costs, it is essential that you employ the appropriate quantity.

What Do You Need To Buy A Plane Ticket At The Airport?

Make sure you have the following things in hand when you arrive at the airport and head to the ticket counter to purchase your flight tickets:

  • Details of the destination
  • Choice of seats
  • Identification Proof
  • Visa and Passport
  • Payment Methods such as credit cards, cash, etc.

It is essential to have a thorough understanding of the prerequisites well in advance of purchasing a plane ticket. 

All the requirements are discussed in detail below:

  • Destination

Before buying a ticket to a city, you should know where you’ll be going at the end of your trip. 

You should know if it’s a one-way trip, or when you’ll be returning if it’s a round-trip. 

You should also be clear about how long you are planning on being gone and when you hope to leave.

Purchasing an airplane ticket requires knowing both the date of your journey and the exact time of your departure from and arrival at your destination. 

If the airline you want to go with is booked up, you may want to look into booking a flight with another airline or rescheduling your trip at a later date. 

In order to avoid this situation altogether, it is recommended that you buy your ticket well in advance.

  • Seating Preferences

Additionally, before boarding the plane, think about where you would like to sit. Some passengers may opt for a window seat to have a better view of the world passing them by. 

Others may prefer an aisle seat to have easier access to the onboard lavatory. 

Additionally, you’ll need to select the cabin class in which you feel most at ease flying: coach (often known as an economy), business, or first. 

The first-class seats are the most expensive and most luxurious, while the coach seats are the least expensive and most basic.

  • Passport And Identification Proof

Buying a domestic flight ticket does not require a passport. 

However, a valid form of identification as well as a passport is needed to purchase an aeroplane ticket for an international flight. 

It is necessary to show and verify both the ticket and the passport while boarding the plane. 

Passengers are usually asked to show a verified ID that has noted information regarding the details of the passenger. 

This is required to go through the checkpoint and then board their flight.

  • Visa

Passengers are often required to obtain a visa before entering a foreign nation, even if buying a flight ticket is all that’s needed to enter. 

Even if a visa isn’t normally needed to buy a plane ticket, you’ll still need one. 

The time it takes to take a visa might vary from four to six weeks, so planning beforehand is crucial.

  • Payment

Prior to purchasing a flight ticket, the airline may need you to pay a service fee. They accept various methods of payment in addition to major credit cards and cash. 

Popular airlines like Southwest, Northwest, American, Delta, and JetBlue, among others, can now accept PayPal for ticket purchases, even at the airport. 

Most airline ticket counters accept swipe-ins, credit cards, debit cards, cash, etc.

Are you also wondering what information you need to transfer a plane ticket for someone else? Read our detailed article here to know more.

Can You Buy Plane Tickets At The Airport With Cash?

Yes, you can buy place tickets at the airport with cash. The vast majority of airlines still accept purchases made in cash. However, you will need to make your purchase in person at the airline’s ticket counter if don’t utilise any of the online payment options. 

Despite popular belief, a sizable segment of the global population prefers to pay for flight tickets with cash rather than a credit card, especially at the airport. 

Most airlines allow you to reserve a seat by phone. After that, you have up to 24 hours to visit the box office and make your purchase in person, during which time they will hold the ticket for you.

Most airlines charge a fee for paying with cash, and you’ll need to allow extra time between making your cash purchase and your trip. 

If you want to check-in online, you should do so anywhere from a few hours to two weeks before your departure. However, this may vary depending on the airline. 

When purchasing a pricey ticket, paying in cash rather than with a credit card or debit card increases the probability that you will be subjected to additional security checks.

This is because when you are paying using a credit or a debit card, you are also somewhat completing an identity check for the reservation made.

Read More: Can You Buy Plane Tickets With Cash?

Why Is Buying Tickets At The Airport Not Recommended?

There are several reasons why buying tickets at the airport is not recommended such as low or no discount rates, time consuming process, chances of missing the best deal online, inexperienced staff, etc. As well buying tickets at the airport can be a stressful and time-consuming ordeal. 

The recommendation that travellers do not buy tickets at the airport is grounded in a variety of factors. 

In the sections that follow, we’ll explore a few of these many possibilities.

  • Low Or No Discount Rates

There is no guarantee that travelers who are physically present at an airport will be eligible for discounts or other special offers from airlines. 

As a result, you can nearly always save money on airline tickets if you buy them from a third party or use an online travel booking service. 

You can also use a third-party seller or an internet travel agency to book your flight. 

You will seldom, if ever, be able to take advantage of summer sales, holiday sales, new year’s specials, or any other type of sale offered by a certain airline when you buy tickets at the airport.

This is so because limited-time discounts are quite unusual at the airport.

  • Time-Consuming 

In contrast to travel search engines such as Skyscanner, airport ticket counters do not allow customers to easily search for flight tickets while simultaneously comparing pricing across other airlines. 

Users will have to spend a significant amount of time visiting the websites of individual airlines to check and compare the flight costs that are being offered by the various airlines. 

They may have to wait in a long queue in case there are a large number of people already ahead of them at the ticket counter at the airport.

  • Chance Of Missing The Best Deal

Airline ticket prices fluctuate in a matter of milliseconds, so customers who wait too long to book run the risk of missing out on the greatest deal.

  • Greater Chance Of Making Mistakes With The Details

The workers at airport ticket counters rarely have a hands-on speed of working and finesse when it comes to processing ticket requests.

Passengers could easily be thrown off by this.

It can be unsettling at times, such as when we have to repeatedly change the date or when we forget whether we are paying for seats or luggage.

The same applies to the possibility of payment errors.

Can You Buy Allegiant Tickets At The Airport?

Yes, you can buy Allegiant tickets at the airport at the ticket counter of Allegiant Airlines. Most airports in the U.S. have a ticket counter for Allegiant Airlines and all of them employ ticketing personnel to make the process relevantly easier.

Is It Cheaper To Buy Allegiant Tickets At The Airport?

It is certainly cheaper to buy Allegiant tickets at the airport because Allegiant imposes an “Electronic Carrier Usage Charge” that costs about $13.00 per passenger per segment on all reservations when booking online. There is no such charge when buying Allegiant tickets at the airport.

Is It Cheaper To Buy Tickets At The Airport?Is it cheaper to buy tickets at the Airport

Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash

It depends from airline to airline whether they offer cheaper flight tickets at the airport ticket counters or not. Some airlines such as Spirit Airlines offer cheaper tickets because they remove the online fee, while other airlines such as Delta sell tickets that cost higher at the airport. 

This being said, there are a few budget airlines that truly stand apart from the rest. 

Allegiant, Spirit, and Frontier are the most notorious for adding on extra when buying a plane ticket online or over the phone. However, these fees are not required when purchasing a ticket for a flight at the airport.

This means, that it is possible that for airlines such as Allegiant, Spirit, Frontier, etc, you may be able to buy tickets at the airport that are cheaper than the online tickets or on phone.

Infact, if you prefer to purchase your ticket at the airport, you’re in luck because Spirit Airlines does, in fact, offer cheaper tickets. The airline now offers discounted airport fares.

However, you may be able to save money on tickets with American, Delta, or United by using a site like Kayak or Google Flights

Customers of some airlines, including Southwest, may find the cheapest available flight options on the airline’s website itself, instead of the airport.

However, the price of the ticket is not the only thing you should take in consideration to decide if the ticket is cheaper at the airport.

What Can You Do?

You should weigh the savings against the time and money spent getting to and from the airport and waiting in line to purchase the ticket. It is an important factor when deciding whether or not it’s worth it to buy your ticket at the airport. 

Taking this step will help you evaluate the value of the potential cost reductions. You’ll need to plan on making the trip and finding parking when you get there. 

Another alternative is to buy a ticket at the airport when you are already waiting for a different flight. You can consider this option to save the driving and parking costs.

Some budget airlines also charge extra for extras like choosing your seat and bringing carry-on luggage. 

Because of this, buying a ticket on a different airline may be more cost-effective, one whose costs already include the taxes for carry-on baggage and seats. 

This may be the case, for example, if the airline you’re flying with routinely includes such charges in their base ticket prices.

Now, the question is, will buying a plane ticket at the airport in advance save you money?

Buying a plane ticket at the airport can save you money compared to buying it online in advance only if you are flying with a low-cost carrier such as Spirit. 

Several factors, such as the distance between your home and the airport, the number of passengers in your party, and the airline you are flying with, might affect the final price of a plane ticket purchased at the airport.

Finding a better rate at the airport isn’t always the best option, so if you can avoid it, try searching online for a ticket instead.

Let us discuss this in terms of some leading airlines, as mentioned below.

Is It Cheaper To Buy Spirit Tickets At The Airport?

Spirit Airlines has a Passenger Usage Fee that can cost as much as $22.99 for each segment. It applies to travellers who purchase their trips via the airline’s website. When buying Spirit Airlines tickets at the airport, there is no such fee, thus, the tickets can be cheaper.

Passengers still must pay Spirit Airlines’ Regulatory Compliance Charge and Fuel Charge when purchasing tickets at the airport. When buying a ticket online, these charges are often waived.

Booking flights directly through the websites of airlines like Delta, United, and Southwest can save you money because they do not add service fees to online bookings.

Is It Cheaper To Buy Delta Tickets At The Airport?

Delta tickets purchased at the airport do not qualify for any kind of discount. In order to stay competitive, Delta occasionally offers cheap plane tickets through various booking channels like the internet or a third party.

Getting a cheap Delta Airlines flight is easiest if you take advantage of the deals that are regularly posted on the website. 

One other way to save money on a journey is to book as far in advance as three or four months in ahead of your trip you can with Delta Airlines.

Holding out on booking until one of Delta’s discounts comes around is another way to increase the likelihood of scoring a cheap aircraft ticket. However, if you do that, you have to be flexible with when you want to book your flight.

You can also book cheaper tickets via Delta Airlines’ low fare calendar on its website.

Is It Cheaper To Buy American Airlines Tickets At The Airport?

Travellers should know that there is a chance they will not be able to purchase cheaper tickets if they schedule appointments at the airport for American Airlines. However, there is also a chance they will be able to do so.

It’s possible this is the case because the helpful agent at the counter will book your tickets in the quickest and easiest possible way. 

If this is the case, you won’t be able to select the ticket that best corresponds to the passenger fees or find the most economically advantageous ticket. 

In addition, you won’t have access to the passenger fare-corresponding ticket option.

On top of that, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to schedule the vacation around your own personal needs and preferences. 

Also, it is highly possible that buying a plane ticket at the airport is that you won’t miss out on any of the newest deals, coupons, or discounts. 

An airport ticket will cost you significantly more than one purchased through an online travel agency for a variety of factors that may be broken down into many subcategories. 

Is It Cheaper To Buy Frontier Airlines Tickets At The Airport?

Tickets purchased at an airport Frontier counter are typically less expensive than those booked through the airline’s website. When booking online, Frontier Airlines may impose a “Carrier Interface Charge” while there is no such charge at the airport.

When viewing the breakdown of taxes and carrier-imposed costs, the “Carrier Interface Charge” is really just an online booking fee in disguise. 

Every ticket has an additional cost that can go from $4 for a one-way trip to $21 for a round trip. If you are making purchases for a sizable group of people, you might be able to save a lot of money with Frontier Airlines when buying tickets at the airport.

You should check the flight schedule to see when the airport ticket counter will be open before deciding whether or not to buy a ticket at the airport.

Frontier, like its competitors Spirit and Allegiant, adds a “convenience fee” to the price of each ticket. 

Customers who make use of the business’s online services are subject to this charge. This means they don’t have to worry about forking up the federal excise tax that would otherwise be added to the price of the ticket. 

As with most other extremely low-cost airlines, it’s likely that Frontier tickets bought at an airport will not incur the fee.

Is It Cheaper To Buy Southwest Tickets At The Airport?

There are no discounts or other incentives available for tickets bought at the airport for Southwest Airlines. It is known to exclusively sell its cheapest tickets on its own website which means it probably won’t be cheaper to buy Southwest tickets at the airport.

You need to go there to make your bookings, and then you need to go to the airport when you’re ready to leave. 

There are no discounts or other incentives available for purchases made at the airport terminal. 

In fact, selling tickets is one of the least common duties of airline personnel of Southwest Airlines.

Ticketing desks remain because agents may help customers in many other ways. These include securing paid upgrades to better seats or correcting mistakes in their trip plans. 

Travelers who need assistance might get it from ticket agents so they can continue their trip.

What Time Does Spirit Ticket Counter Open?

The Spirit Airlines ticket counter opens at different times at different airports. It depends on when the first flight and the last flight depart from the specific airport. Therefore, a Spirit ticket counter can open at 1:00 in the morning as well as 6:00 in the evening as well.

Here is a tabular summary of the major airports with Spirit ticket counters and when the counters open:

Airport Ticket Counter Hours Preferred Ticketing Hours
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Int’l Airport 3:00 a.m. – closes after the last departure (varies by day)  7:30 a.m. – 9.30 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m.
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport 3:15 a.m. – 10:15 p.m. 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Denver International Airport
  • 3:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • 3:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 a.m. NA
Los Angeles International Airport
  • Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sat – 4:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
  • Tue, Thu, and Sun – 4:30 – 11:00 p.m. 
Charlotte Douglas International Airport Opens 3 hours prior to scheduled departure time and closes once flights depart.


  • 3:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.
  • 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Las Vegas McCarran International Airport 3:15 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Orlando International Airport 4:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. NA
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  • 9:30 a.m. – 11:50 p.m. 
  • 3:30 p.m. – 5:50 p.m.
Miami International Airport 4:00 a.m. –  10:30 p.m.  4:00 a.m. –  10:30 p.m. 
Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport 11:45 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. NA
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport 4:00 a.m. –10:00 p.m. NA
Boston Logan International Airport 3:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Same as ticket counter hours
San Diego International Airport Mon-Sun: 

  • 4:30 am – 9:00 am 
  • 11:30 am – 1:15 pm
  • 5:30 pm – 8:15 pm
Mon – Sun:

  • 4:30 am – 8:45 am 
  • 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
  • 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Nashville International Airport Sun, Tue, Thu:

  • 4:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. 
  • 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Mon & Fri: 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Wed: 6.30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. & 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. 

Sat: 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Tampa International Airport
  • Mon, Tue, Wed, Sat – 4:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Sun, Thu, Fri –  4:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Baltimore–Washington International Airport 4:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
New York LaGuardia Airport 3:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.


Why Is It Recommended To Buy Plane Tickets Online?

It is recommended to buy plane tickets online due to the following reasons:

  1. The convenience of booking anytime and anywhere
  2. Ability to analyze various flights at the same time
  3. Ability to compare flight prices
  4. Time-saving process
  5. Ease of modification for seats, extra luggage, cancellation, etc

In response to the question “Is there any benefit to booking flight tickets directly with the airline?” the general answer is “yes,” however the specific benefit varies by carrier.

  • Convenience Of Booking

In terms of both time and location, purchasing airline tickets online is the superior alternative. This is because it can be done from the comfort of one’s own home, office, or even while traveling to a different area. 

You won’t have to wait in long queues for help, unlike airport ticket counters.

  • Analysis Of Various Flights

When booking via phone with an airline or a travel agent, it is not possible to compare prices across several airlines,

However, this is possible when booking flights online. You can look at multiple options until you find one that meets all of your needs to your satisfaction.

  • Saves TimeOnline flight booking saves time

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

It will take much less time overall if you check-in online before your arrival instead of waiting in line at the front desk. It is possible to get your boarding card quickly by visiting the airline’s website.

You can do so by filling out the necessary information, printing it out, or getting it immediately on your phone. Your boarding card can be obtained in this manner with the least amount of hassle.

  • Ease Of Modification

When you book your flight online, you have the option to make changes or cancel at any moment. If your schedule shifts, you can easily make the required adjustments in your account settings.

If you don’t want to pay an “external fee” on top of the price of the ticket you plan to buy online, you should learn about any fees involved with refunding your purchase and read the fine print of any associated restrictions.

Can You Still Fly Stand-By Or Last-Minute Flights?

You cannot hang out at the counter for an extended period of time in the hopes of snagging the final remaining seat on a departing flight known as a “stand-by flight”. For safety reasons, this rule is in place to prevent people from being late for their flights. 

Last-minute flight tickets are more expensive than booking them in advance, so waiting until the day of travel is not a good strategy to save money.

Flying stand-by refers to switching flights on the same day without a confirmed reservation, i.e., a purchased ticket but without a confirmed seat. 

The term “flying stand-by” has become the current standard for describing this procedure. 

For a charge that is less than the standard fee connected with modifying a reservation, you also have the option of making a confirmed same-day change. 

This ensures you a seat on another aircraft on the same day as your original ticket. You can choose this alternative for a charge that is less than what you’d pay to change your reservation normally. 

The cost of this option is less than the standard charge for changing the settings of an existing account. 

This method is much cheaper since you are gambling that the other planes have not yet reached capacity. 

It is not yet confirmed whether or not an additional cost will be assessed for stand-by tickets.

Can You Travel Via A Buddy Pass? 

The only way to “fly stand-by” in the traditional sense, that is, showing up at the airport and hopping on a flight without booking in advance, is to know someone who works for or has retired from an airline. You can only do this under specific conditions. 

An airline’s employees are given a set number of “buddy passes” each year, which they are free to give to their closest friends and relatives. This pass allows the holder to fly on stand-by for the price of the ticket’s taxes and fees.

Nonetheless, you will have to hang around the airport until one of the flights you’re considering has an open seat. 

Different airlines have different policies when it comes to issuing buddy passes, and those policies are kept secret as a matter of confidentiality. 

Stand-by travel can save you a lot of money, but you’ll need to know someone in the airline industry. 

How Can You Travel Via A Stand-by Pass?

The most important thing to do right away is to read over the policies and regulations. Some airlines have a stand-by list which you can join if you call their reservation center or sign up for it online.

In some cases, you may need to visit the airport in person to talk to an agent. You can also utilize one of the available kiosks.

Understanding The Rules And Regulations

Depending on the airline, you will have the chance to change your reservation up to a certain number of hours before your flight, after midnight, or 24 hours before your scheduled departure. This window of opportunity is often referred to as the “change window.”

Additionally, the introduction of fresh regulations is always a possibility. If you have a ticket, for example, JetBlue states unambiguously that there is no stand-by flying for once-in-a-day routes, and the only flight you can stand-by for is the one that departs shortly before yours. 

One must have a ticket for the flight that leaves before their own in order to travel stand-by. 

Most of them limit your options to the specific beginning and ending airports, as well as flights between specific regions; this can be extremely inconvenient.

If calling or enrolling online doesn’t get you on the list, your best hope is to turn up as soon as possible. This holds true whether you have a paid seat or a friend pass. 

To meet this criterion, you should plan to be at the airport much earlier before the day’s first flight. 

Since passengers are added to the standby list in the order in which they were received, this increases the probability of gaining access to the flight.

Since airlines give priority to customers who have paid for tickets, you should be well-prepared for the chance to use a buddy pass even if it means waiting for all flights of the day. 

This is because paying ticket holders are given more priority by airlines. Also, stay put until the plane you were hoping to catch has left the ground. 

It’s best to be flexible since you cannot determine when a last-minute alteration will present itself with its own set of advantages.

Final Words

While you can indeed buy tickets at the airport, it is not always possible to do so very easily. This article has reviewed the pros and cons of purchasing airline tickets from an airport. We hope that you can make a more informed decision when preparing for your next trip.

Swati Jaiswal

Swati Jaiswal is a dedicated traveler and an even dedicated individual who specializes in travel, digital marketing, & health and fitness niches. Passport stamps and coffee stains are her badges of honor.

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